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Google ran a secret project Bernanke to boost its ad-buying system

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Google-operated a secret project, known as “Project Bernanke,” that relied on data from past bids in the search engine giant’s digital advertising exchange and allegedly gave its own ad-buying system an edge over competitors, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The name of the secret project got revealed in an improperly unredacted document Google had filed as part of an anti-trust lawsuit in Texas. The report on Saturday said that Google’s programme was not disclosed to publishers who sold ads through the company’s ad-buying systems.

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A federal judge has allowed Google to refile the document under seal. Texas filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google in December 2020, alleging that the company ran a digital-ad monopoly that adversely impacted both ad-industry competitors and publishers.

In the unredacted filing, Google wrote that data from Project Bernanke was “comparable to data maintained by other buying tools,” according to the Journal. The secret programme that Google operated allegedly gave it chance to change bids by its clients.

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In court documents, Texas cited an internal presentation from 2013 in which Google said Project Bernanke would bring in $230 million in revenue for that year, The Verge reported.

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